Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The Truth About Yolanda-Ding Velasco


By Ding C. Velasco

Dear Friends:

On the day after Yolanda, Kringkring Gonzales, Mayor husband Alfred Romualdez and their two kids were seen walking towards Tacloban City center because they were caught by the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda at their seaside resort - where they almost lost their lives when the "daluyong" or storm surge flooded their resort. They appeared dirty and bedraggled having survived Yolanda by the skin of their teeth at their beach resort.

A week later, Kringkring was interviewed by ABSCBN in Manila where she, in tears, narrated how she and her family escaped death by crawling into the "kisame" of their house in their beach resort, because the storm surge flooded their resort.

Kringkring did not publicly disclose that two days prior to the arrival of Typhoon Yolanda, she and husband Alfred were on an overnight hiking trip with close friends, and that they only arrived at their beach resort on the afternoon of November 7, 2013.

So, having just arrived and tired from a hiking excursion, they were physically spent, so they rested and slept. Mayor Alfred wasn't able to even report to Tacloban City Hall the day before the typhoon.

While the Tacloban City DRRMC did open up evacuation centers in many Tacloban City public schools without their City Mayor - the biggest mistake of Mayor Romualdez was his failure to understand the effect of a thirty to forty foot storm surge that would be generated by the 335 kph Typhoon. And this "daluyong" will crawl from the beach to the higher grounds and will engulf everything with 40 feet of seawater.

So, when Yolanda hit in late evening of November 07, the unadvised citizens of Tacloban City along the shorelines were the first to die of drowning. Then when the surge flooded the low lying City, the thousand evacuated to the public schools inside the city, died of drowning too. This was evident because thousands of bodies were recovered in the vicinities of the schools. This in itself was a clear case of "nonfeasance" on preparedness on the part of Alfred Romualdez.

In the interest of fairness, it was the 180 man Albay contingent led by then Albay Governor Joey Salceda who arrived first in Tacloban City, not Duterte and his Davao contingent. Salceda brought with him a dozen doctors, some nurses, medicines and two ten wheeler water tankers we call here in Albay as "WatSan" tankers, which combined, can convert twenty thousand gallons of river water per day to clean, potable  drinking water - that they can  distribute to communities because the majority of the water pipes of the Tacloban Water District were damaged.

Salceda also brought two teams of divers with their own motor boats which helped to collect the bloated bodies along the beaches and shoreline.

Only the US Navy arrived earlier than Albay in Tacloban City.

The most covered incompetency in the entire  Typhoon Yolanda mess was the failure of Mayor Alfred Romualdez to  understand storm surge. Had he understood it, he wouldn't have allowed himself and his family to sleep in their beach resort and he would surely have ordered the mandatory evacuation of all vulnerable citizens on the low lying areas to higher grounds and therefore - could have avoided thousands of casualties.

To cover up for his stupidity, the entire Romualdez and Marcos clan started the Fake News angle that the  deaths and succeeding controversies around Yolanda were because of the mishandling of PNoy and Mar Roxas. And because PNoy, who was still President just ignored how he was wrongly pilloried, the fake news of Yolanda being his fault started to take root.

Today, no DDS will believe that in all of what transpired since November 2013; and despite the international acclaim that PNoy did better at Typhoon Yolanda than Bush did with Hurricane Katrina - PNoy and Mar Roxas were made out as the bad guys when the truth was the contrary.

Typhoon Yolanda was the strongest Typhoon or Hurricane to ever hit land on recorded history and PNoy did very well - considering the Pope was able to say Holy Mass in Tacloban City fourteen months later, in January 2014.